Fix the economy to suit education needs, not other way round

Lack of jobs for graduates does not mean those courses are now useless

In Summary

•Many graduates are either jobless or working in a different field

•Corruption has led to youths lacking employment because they don't have connections 

Education CS George Magoha at City Hall for vetting on March 14
NOT CS'S CALL TO SCRAP COURSES: Education CS George Magoha at City Hall for vetting on March 14
Image: Jack Owuor

Education CS Professor George Magoha has outlined a list of university courses he deems irrelevant, and therefore must be scrapped off. His argument is premised on aligning the courses to market needs, without stating or pointing at a survey detailing how these now referred to as ‘useless courses’ are not relevant. 

His argument goes to affirm that many in the African continent have not conceptualised the true meaning of education as propounded by its progenitors in the Greek civilisation who envisioned education as a tool to seek and develop knowledge, yet professor Magoha wants to dictate what should be studied in university. One cannot venture into new territories when we are still stuck in the decades-old mindset of “Medicine, Law and Engineering are the best”.

Those who love the arts should be allowed to exploit it to the furthest they deem satisfactory just like those who have chosen to pursue the so called “lucrative” courses. No one has the monopoly over what discipline one should seek knowledge from. If Nutrition is what one feels is a way in which they can change the world, so be it. In the US, which many of our scholars use as a yardstick, there’s a degree course on the renowned musician Rihanna and a new one on marijuana.

We’ve seen people who studied engineering work as farmers or politicians. This does not mean that society does not need engineering just because these engineers are not employed as engineers. Some studied Law but are employed as radio presenters- it also does not negate the course.

We miss the point when we equate the objective of education to landing jobs in a country where jobs themselves are too limited one has to have connections in high places to acquire one. And if we must go with the argument of the job market, then we still fail as a country, for ours is a country where many who graduated with the so-called “marketable” courses are either jobless or in a field they were not trained on.

Professor Magoha’s starting point should have been beefing up the university with qualified lecturers and ensuring there are adequate facilities in tandem with the modern trends and technological advancements. Employment prospects of people depend on a country’s economic performance if the population is not innovative and entrepreneurial. It has nothing to do with “relevant” courses.

The government must fix the economy and invest in higher education, and education stake-holders tutored on the need of shunning the status quo thinking of “a doctor is better than a teacher” and let students pursue what is appealing to them.


Freelance Journalist and Writer